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Old 02-16-2015, 09:37 PM   #1
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Solar Generator?

I am trying to figure out the best way to make our Wildwood t21rbs more self-sufficient so that we can spend more time in State and National parks, and am considering buying a solar generator, specifically a Rhyno 500 from Grape Solar. It seems like this portable system that has a 500 W pure sine inverter, controller, 40 Ah lithium battery, and 100W solar panel all in a 40 lb case would be a great alternative to having a system installed in the trailer since we could also keep it at home for emergency situations. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with a solar generator or thoughts about this idea since we are fairly new to the whole trailer thing and still learning.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:01 PM   #2
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A 40AH battery is next to useless unless you have much smaller than normal loads.

There is lots of info out there about solar power. Basically, your decisions on what you need hinges on:

- how many amp hours per day do you normally use (need to replenish)? Often, parasitic draws of a camper total around 24AH per day (or more). Add in 12V lighting (LED lighting makes a significant difference) and fans (furnace fan is often 5 amps when running).
- can you live without AC (120V) power (a lot more solar panel, battery bank, and inverter to run AC stuff like air conditioning, microwave, etc.)
- how big a solar panel(s) do you need to produce the needed power where you will be camping? How much direct sunlight per day can you expect at that location?

Based on your answers, there are guidelines for sizing the solar panel(s), battery bank, controller, and so on.

Insufficient sizing of components will likely result in batteries running low and dying prematurely - battery life is dependent on how many discharge/recharge cycles and how deeply the battery is discharged.

just my thoughts and experiences
Fred W
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:29 PM   #3
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It really depends on what your expectations are from a system like that. If all you are looking to do it run a few LED lights and keep your LP fridge running it might suit you, but that's about all you'll be able to get out it.

I will say that systems like that are generally extremely expensive for what you are actually getting in terms of hardware and capacity. You might be better served to purchase a small inverter type generator. You'll end up with more capacity on demand and be much more "self-sufficient" in dry camping situations. A small 2000w generator like the Honda or Yamaha will run everything in your rig (not all at once) with the exception of your heavy loads.. A/C, electric side of your water heater, etc.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:26 PM   #4
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Thanks very much for the input. Lots to think about and more research to do. I was thinking about the solar generator as an addition to my regular house battery just to have the ability to do a few 110v tasks like run an electric fan and recharge my laptop. I thought I might get another portable 100v solar panel to charge the house battery. The point about how much more expensive the generator system would be than the individual components would be is probably a good one but I'm not very knowledgable about electrical work and am kind of intimidated about hooking up the components myself without blowing them ( and myself) up!

Thanks again for the input
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:49 PM   #5
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The link below might be a help trying to figure out how much power things use. You can use the spreadsheet and the list of items toward the bottom to calculate your demand. If you search their site for RV you will find many excellent RV packages. The one you found sounds good on paper, but as mentioned earlier, you will be very disappointed with it.

Solar Load Calculator
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